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Friday, April 22, 2011

Taking a side trip in the information highway, one might run across the establishment that I was employed at, where the local or nearby franchise is saying goodbye to the corporate entity that has held it's title in 24-7 America.  I have found a bit of niche for once in life that is irrelevant to the story at hand.

While local corner stores are inevitably squeezed out to larger markets, such as Circle K's and 7Elevens, the franchise I work at has changed the passing of the guards after a forty four year run.  I only partook in five or so of those years but the history is important as the owner, Angelo Pighetti has sold one of his two franchises of 7Elevens.  While he started his humble beginnings working for Vons in Goleta, the 7Eleven's he owns are at the very last northern pit stop out of the glorious town of Santa Barbara.  The area has grown considerably since the first year in 1968 and with the influx of UCSB students, the growth and expansion of Santa Barbara, the place has held it's own for some time.  In fact, these two 7Eleven's cater to the educational age youth with one nearby the local high school of Dos Pueblos, where Katy Perry is known to have attended and the other in the nearby neck of woods of UCSB.

I say neck of the woods because it doesn't take far to reach the wilderness of the area with it's ocean bluffs as the backyard or the serene mountains for it's background.  The beauties of living in a well known town has its perks as the people have come out of the woodworks to stop in and get their Slurpees or Big Gulps on the their way.  It has been a time tested honor to have employment with the employer and his staff.  The sadness of hearing their own challenges and testaments have made the lowly job worth while.  It can't be said that being a clerk at 7Eleven is a glamorous life but it's a job, nonetheless.  Mr. Pighetti, who's son manages the 7Eleven near Dos Pueblos is also employed by the city's Fire Department.

Angelo Pighetti will always be known to many as the elderly man who ran the register on occasion as he worked most of those 44 years of ownership in the store.  In his later years, he was not in often due to life's adverse affects of a life lived long.  If he could, he'd probably still be working behind the counter.  Rather, we miss his singing old italian songs in the store and his casual approach to everything.  In regards to talking with him, he informed me that he had first started with the 7Eleven on the Santa Barbara Mesa.  After I told him I thought he was the longest owning franchised 7Eleven.  I told him of the article I found online about another man as the oldest person to have been with a franchised 7Eleven but Mr. Pighetti probably beat him out on owning a store for so long.  He then told me he knew that guy I was talking about.

It is with regret I did not converse with our store owner enough, but rather with his manager for the last ten to eleven years, that I found deep friendship outside the workplace.  My manager, Debbie Cordero understood the concept of local hospitality as she often made efforts above and beyond the call of duty to the customers and patrons of the store near UCSB.  Indubitably, respect was served all around along with the coffee, hot dog, six pack of beer or whatever else you might expect at a wide corporate chain such as this.  It is with the efforts of this business's legacy of forty four years gone by that I wish to notify those higher above us humble clerks that paychecks don't make the person but how others feel and notice after leaving your place of work.

Despite life's litmus test, I think that Mr. Pighetti, his son and my manager, Debbie has passed with flying colors and it is some food for thought next time you walk into a place that's open 365 days a year, 24-7 what makes it run so kindly.  So yes, "Oh, thank heaven for 7Eleven."

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